ChatGPT is well named, if only because lots of people are “chatting” about it.
In case you’ve missed it, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can answer questions, draft content and summarize written material. ChatGPT does a lot more than that, but those are three of its primary capabilities.
There is understandably a lot of buzz about this app, partially because of concerns about its impact on work and careers. That concern seems well-founded. A recent study by OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, estimates that about 80% of the U.S. workers could be impacted by technology like ChatGPT. And roughly 20% of these workers might see about half of their workload impacted.
Some of those workers are writers. I don’t think that AI will replace good writers because they bring a flair and insight that ChatGPT can’t provide (at least not now). However, I think writers who use AI will be more productive than those who do not. As of today, the technology is an enhancement, like having a junior writer do research and write a first draft.
So what is ChatGPT? What good is it? And how can you get started?
Before delving into those topics, let me acknowledge my debt to Rosemary Brisco of TotheWeb for much of this information.
And please remember that this field is changing quickly. In the time I have worked on this blog post, I had to update the material several items. So it is important to stay up to date.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a tool (a “chatbot”) that processes information and learns patterns. (GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer.”)
The bot has “digested” massive amounts of data (last I read, about two trillion words). Evidently the chatbot could qualify for an MBA at Wharton.
Basically, ChatGPT has learned how people use words and statistically guesses responses to “prompts” (e.g., questions and requests).
When you create a prompt, ChatGPT analyzes the text it has been trained on and creates new content from scratch. There is no template.
ChatGPT’s content is unique. You won’t find it verbatim in Google.
ChatGPT does not cite individual sources because its information is from multiple sources.
What good is it?
ChatGPT can increase productivity, sometimes dramatically.
A study at MIT found that people using ChatGPT produced almost 60% more content than people who weren’t using it. What’s more, the AI-assisted writing was of higher quality than the content created solely by humans (according to the study’s organizers).
Here are four of the ways ChatGPT can help writers and marketers.
“Brainstorming” – You can ask the bot for blog or social media ideas.
Writing – The chatbot can outline and draft material from news release to tweets.
Editing – You can drop content into ChatGPT and ask it to reword sections (a great “cure” for writers’ block).
Summarizing – You can paste a complex document into the bot and ask it to summarize the important points.
In my experience, ChatGPT does not generate a final draft. However, it does provide ideas, structure and wording that have helped me write good drafts faster than usual.
Of course, ChatGPT has some serious limitations, and you need to evaluate its quality, accuracy and reliability. Here are some issues.
You own the response you get from ChatGPT, so you’re responsible if it infringes on copyright.
At least at the time I’m writing this, the free version of ChatGPT has limited knowledge of anything after September 2021.
The free version also doesn’t have real-time access to the Internet. You can’t tell it to go to a URL and review something. Paid subscribers can use a plugin to access the Internet.
ChatGPT gets things wrong. It depends on the content it has “digested,” which includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
Until recently, there was no privacy. The ChatGPT developers were able to see what you input. Fortunately, you can now keep your content secret. Click here to learn how.
ChatGPT can’t do complex math.
And, most importantly, ChatGPT is not a person. It doesn’t understand; it can only respond and restate information it has “digested.”
How to Get Started
First, sign in at chat.openai.com. The basic version is free. As of this writing, an advanced version costs $20/month, an incredibly good value because of the advanced features that are being introduced.
Second, prepare a detailed request (a “prompt”). Give the same type of directions you would give a person. Include the:
- Subject: e.g., “financial strategies”
- Audience: e.g., “B2B companies”
- Voice or tone: e.g., “friendly and informative”
- Format: e.g., “a news release”
- Structure or length: e.g., “600 to 800 words”
- Purpose: e.g., “to educate a prospect ”
- Industry: e.g., “accounting”
- Keywords: e.g., “taxes”
- Any other appropriate directions: e.g., “include customer examples”
Don’t ask multiple questions in one prompt. After you have received a response, you can refine it by entering more prompts. GPT can “remember” 3,000 words within the chain of prompts, so it can improve its responses based on your additional input.
If you don’t get good results from multiple prompts, either start a new prompt or completely start over (log off and on). ChatGPT can’t remember anything from previous chats.
That’s enough for now. I’ll be back later with more insights.
By the way, I asked ChatGPT to list the 10 topics I should include in this blog post. This is what it generated:
- Introduction to ChatGPT: Explaining what ChatGPT is and how it works, including its capabilities and limitations.
- History and Evolution of ChatGPT: Discussing the development of ChatGPT, its predecessors, and how it has evolved over time.
- Use Cases for ChatGPT: Exploring the various applications of ChatGPT, such as customer service, content generation, language translation, and more.
- ChatGPT in Business: Highlighting how ChatGPT can be leveraged by businesses to streamline communication, automate tasks, and enhance customer interactions.
- Ethical Considerations with ChatGPT: Discussing the ethical implications of using ChatGPT, including concerns about bias, privacy, security, and potential misuse.
- Tips for Interacting with ChatGPT: Providing practical tips and best practices for effectively engaging with ChatGPT, including how to obtain accurate results and manage expectations.
- Improving ChatGPT’s Performance: Discussing techniques for fine-tuning and improving the performance of ChatGPT, such as customization, training data, and feedback loops.
- Challenges and Limitations of ChatGPT: Discussing the current limitations and challenges associated with ChatGPT, including its inability to understand context, generate creative content, and handle complex tasks.
- Future Prospects of ChatGPT: Speculating on the future developments and potential advancements of ChatGPT, such as enhanced capabilities, wider adoption, and integration with other technologies.
- Conclusion: Summarizing the key points covered in the blog post and providing recommendations for using ChatGPT effectively in various settings.